Sciencemadness Discussion Board

nitro toluene spectacular runaway

Ral123 - 11-8-2012 at 11:15

I was thinking for options for fuel for binary composition with rfna. Nitromethane is one of the best of course, but it's too obvious and I play soft :D Methanol get nitrated rightaway, so does acetone and ap. Toluene takes a while to cause the problems. DNT is good, but I was looking for something cheaper and liquid. I wanted to make some MNT to investigate.
So the recipe says about 1:1:1 60% nitric, 95% sufuric and toluene. The temp to be kept around 15-20 in the beginning, under 40 and in the end possibly to 55. I began mixing the stuff and it went pretty well. I only had problems keeping consistent mix keeping layers from separating. At the end the mix was still quite brown, according to the recipe, that indicates unreacted toluene, it's supposed to be yellow. I was sick of stirring like a maniac and I made a little setup with a toy motor. The problematic unreacted toluene was not until the end, so it had little to react. The temp was around 30 and almost felt like dropping. After quite a while the temp begin to rise somewhat and after a while I took to drop it in the ice bath. I don't know how, but it foamed out very fast and ignited. The flame was big with a lot of black smoke, it spilled over my oven, and even the floor(behind the oven). OMG who'd expect that from harmless toluene nitration with cheap-ass nitric and as much sulfuric. I grabbed my 10L crisis survival mineral water bottle(kept easily accesible just in case :D) and spilled heavily on everything. Then there was the hissing noise, but that was just some electricity.
I've nitrated toluene to tnt/dnt with 2,5/1 sulfuric/wfna at temp near 100C. In my accident there were some bubbles froming just before the runaway, maybe like soda. I don't know what it is, not much NO2. I had heavy egdn and rdx ruaways, but didn't expect that from mnt. According to that site the autoignition tempreture of toluene is above 500
I'll post what happened to the reaction when I'll be done with the watering problem :/

Ral123 - 21-8-2012 at 03:50

I'm a stupid person, attracted police's attention. If I don't post, it's not because I lost fingers or anything.

weiming1998 - 21-8-2012 at 04:01

Quote: Originally posted by Ral123  
I'm a stupid person, attracted police's attention. If I don't post, it's not because I lost fingers or anything.

Police came to your house?

Ral123 - 21-8-2012 at 04:28

One guy from my suppliers told me, basically the message was to cool it for a while. I cant give any reasonable comment what happened.

[Edited on 21-8-2012 by Ral123]

run away Toluene nitration.

spirit - 31-8-2012 at 05:45

There is an entry on making methyl nitrate by the addition of nitric acid to methanol, dropwise, in the presence of h2so4. The reaction is kept cool by immersion in cool water. It warns that if the reaction begins to foam you have about ten seconds to drown it in h2o to prevent an accident. This came from a munitions handbook from the sixties. I can quote if need be.

I realize you were working with a different reaction but I see some parallels. Maybe this will give you some insight to why your reaction ran away? I am planning on working with this reaction so your post is very interesting.